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From Yosemite to GCNP- tips and advise are welcome

From Yosemite to GCNP- tips and advise are welcome

Jun 5th, 2014, 03:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 10
From Yosemite to GCNP- tips and advise are welcome

So, we are approaching our summer vacation, with our three kids (11-7-4) and I would love to get some feedback, thoughts, ideas, things you'd change or do differently. (There are hikes we can't do cause of the kids, so nothing too extreme please..)
The general plan is to spend two nights in Yosemite, and leaving via tioga pass on the third day around noon. Sleeping in Bishop and driving through Death Valley (Mid July heat won't allow more than that, I suppose) to Vegas, spending the night there, and leaving early to our most awaited round...Zion (+the night there) to Bryce (+the night there) , monument valley, sleeping in Page + the next day there and finally two days in the GCNP, and returning to Vegas.
Thank you!!
Daniellathatsme is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
I know people will tell you you shouldn't go to Death Valley in the summer, but we've done it many times. It is a fascinating place, and I think you will enjoy staying there rather than in boring Bishop. We like the motel-style rooms at Furnace Creek Ranch and your children will love the great display of stars on the desert at night.

On the way to Death Valley, make a little detour to Bodie State Park--one of the best preserved ghost towns. The kids will love it: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

You may enjoy your vacation more if you don't make the long trek to Monument Valley, especially if you stay at motels with swimming pools while you are visiting Zion and Bryce.

Consider Sedona which has remarkable red rock formations and is 30 miles from Jerome, an historic town that appeals to children. And, on your way back to or from the Grand Canyon pop into the town of Williams--its Main Street is a well-preserved bit of old Route 66.

If you are determined to continue on east, consider Canyon de Chelley. It is a little farther than Monument Valley, but I think it's a lot more interesting. The kids will love the jeep tour with a Navajo guide.

Have a wonderful trip.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
Bodie is an hour out of your way and you already have enough miles and places to see with three children. I'd skip it this time.

You are correct. You won't be doing anything besides driving though Death Valley in the summer. TAKE PLENTY OF WATER for the drive!!!

If Zion is the most awaited round....then you are going to have very little time here. I would skip Monument Valley which will save you 250 miles of driving and then you can spend the extra night at Zion. Think about your day for Zion. You wake in Las Vegas, have to pack up the kids and vehicle. Have some kind of breakfast...what time will you get on the road? Las Vegas to Zion is about a three hour drive. You have to check into your lodging, have lunch...and more than likely you haven't had time to see the park yet. It takes 90 minutes to do the free shuttle bus in the canyon. Leaves very little time to explore. If you spend two nights you can have a little more relaxed time and even go down and let the kids play in the Virgin River.

Then you can leave early the next morning for the 1 1/2 hour drive to Bryce. Spending the night in Page after Monument Valley is going out of out your way especially since you can see Page on your way from Bryce.

Hikes even the 4 year old can do in Yosemite are Lower Yosemite Falls, Bridal Veil Falls. Zion the 4 year old could do Riverside Walk which is a easy wheel chair access 2 mile round trip, Weeping Rock and Lower Emerald Pools. In Bryce you could walk the rim between Sunrise and Sunset point. Our son did Queen's Garden in Bryce at the age of 4 but that might be to much.

utahtea is offline  
Jun 6th, 2014, 02:26 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 10
Thank you HTtY. The reason we're sleeping at Bishop, is to try and get the most time out of Yosemite, we love it there! We really want to see Death Valley, so if we can stand the heat we'll take a short look around.
So, what I understand from you is to skip Monument Valley? Really don't think its worth the drive? It sure looks SO gorgeous in the photos....What should we do instead?
Utahtea, your calculation is just about the same as mine, so that's why I figured we'll have time from noon until the next noon (give or take) cause we're staying at the lodge there. Same for Bryce, staying at the lodge.
And of course- thank you for taking the time to help!!
Daniellathatsme is offline  
Jun 6th, 2014, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
Monument Valley is beautiful and I love to go there but while the drive there is nice it's not spectacular like other areas and you're going to see it twice! I think HTtY are are thinking that the more you spend in the car driving to Monument Valley and back is less time you have to enjoy the other areas. I would spend the extra time in Zion. You really don't want to add anything more to your already rushed schedule.

You know your children better than anyone else so you will be able to judge best how they are going to driving long distances every day.

utahtea is offline  
Jun 7th, 2014, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,286
I would favor going to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Zion/Bryce instead of Monument Valley. You will still go through Page. Maybe try to see the "Wave" near Page.
Check out Lone Pine as an alternate to Bishop.
I like the Hacienda which is 2 miles from Hoover Dam instead of going back into Vegas. On the way back from seeing the dam, there is a parking lot with a sidewalk path up to the walkway on the side of the big new high bridge over the dam. The state line and the apex of the arch are close together and marked on the walkway.
There are helicopter tours that leave from the little hill next to the Hacienda parking lot to see Hoover Dam and Lake Meade.
tomfuller is offline  
Jun 7th, 2014, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 107
You could stay in Yosemite longer than noon on the day you leave for Bishop. (It's only a few hours over to Bishop past Tioga Pass.)

My 2cent on Death Valley...I just did the drive-thru visit at the end of May like you are thinking of doing. I hadn't gone before and knew that it would be 100+ degrees, even in May. I will definitely go back during a time in Winter where I can enjoy all the park has to offer. That said, I believe the drive-thru scenery will not be so picturesque to 3 young kids without getting out of the car to explore and enjoy.

Another important thing to mention is that there are 2 areas on that road where you need to turn off your air conditioning for about 20 miles each time so your car doesn't overheat. That's 20-30 minutes of cranky kids because they might not understand the reasoning. There were no less than 3 cars pulled over with their hoods up who must of thought the warning didn't apply to them. lol. The heat was difficult for those 20 miles, but the thought of standing on the sand in that searing sun waiting for my car to cool off or help to arrive made it tolerable.

I went from Las Vegas thru Bishop to Reno, so I'm sure it would be the same road you cross.

If you do decide to attempt it, there was one pull-off we stopped at that had a restroom with an overlook of a canyon lined with people with cameras...oh my gosh...jets flew by and turned sideways right at eye-level. Kids would love it! It was closer to the beginning coming from Bishop. Maybe someone else here knows more about it. So cool.

I've done Monument Valley. Breathtaking but a little touristy and to take the tour is pretty costly. About a half hour up the road is Valley of the Gods scenic drive. If you are driving a vehicle with clearance, there is nothing that Monument Valley has that can top the views. When you exit the drive you are right at the Mogi Dugway. Everyone should drive these two before they die. Beauty unmatched. If I drove the extra miles to see MV, I would have to add these in.
rjasnumberonefan is offline  
Jul 13th, 2014, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 707
Don't miss Hoover Dam... Your kids are the perfect age for it! My kids still talk about it... They also loved "walking to Arizona!"

Las Vegas with kids that age is tricky...lots of walking between hotels and it's hot. My kids loved the M and M factory and the roller coaster at New York, New York. They liked taking pictures of he different themed casinos too!

At the Grand Canyon, I needed a back up plan because my youngest was too scared to even get within 10 feet of a guardrail. Cell service there is spotty at best... So we ride the shuttles and looked from the windows whole the others in our group hiked for the day.

Have a great time!!
lynni is offline  
Jul 14th, 2014, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,981
We just returned from your vacation, and my least favorite was Monument Valley, we stayed about an hour and left. Of course if you are always going to be sorry you didn't include it then you should go. BUT, it is hot! Starting in Las Vegas we ran into heat, heat, heat, everyday it was between 100 to 111 degrees. I don't care if it is a dry heat, it is still dang hot!
As the above poster stated, if you read a sign advising you to turn off you air for the next so many miles, keep a close eye on your engine gauge. We also ran into many cars pulled off the side of the road due to overheating AND no shade to sit in!
cd is offline  
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